Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Final Beach Day

We ended up leaving the beach a day earlier than planned. It was raining, which means the beach was out. It was our last day, so we had no good days to look forward to. Also, we'd done all of the other things there was to do until our brains and our pocketbooks were empty and fried.

(Side note - we found Skeeball game at the arcade that was giving away free games, so we stood there for forty extra minutes racking up prize tickets. I refuse to feel guilty because of the number of quarters eaten by other games. Also, I still feel the arcade owns me for having to put up with the prizes the boys brought home. Ahem.)

Before we left, we managed to get in one final lovely day at the beach with the cousins. That day made the rest of the vacation worthwhile.

Digging a Tunnel

Someone else's Sand Castle, but it looked pretty cool.

We took a walk to see some really big kites.

These kites were huge. 

Then we buried Nate in the sand and left him there. I hope someone remembers to feed him.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Let's Boogie

After four days, Nathan started asking to stay home from the beach. He was a wild man in the water, but the waves were sometimes too much for him, and the water was cold. And by cold I don't mean "The water's a bit chilly this morning, just get it over your shoulders and you'll be fine." I mean you step onto the water and your joints begin aching from the cold and after five minutes, if you've managed to work your way to your waist, you realize you've lost all feeling in your thighs. A shark could be gnawing off your foot and you'd have no idea because you're entire body is numb.

So I bribed the boys with Boogie Boards, something they've been asking for since last year.

They were so excited, and ran in right away to use them. Of course, the water was very cold, and the waves that day turned violently hard and high, so we had to pull them out of the water before noon anyway, but it made for a fun day.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

More Beach

Because I am simply too tired to write, and perhaps because I'm also very busy, here are more photos from our beach vacation.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Go Fly A Kite

What I learned:

Andy loves flying kites.

It doesn't matter what the wind is like, I can't fly a kite more than six feet or for more than ten seconds.

It's very difficult to take pictures of kites, or people flying kites.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Crack of Dawn

My kids go to bed at 8pm.

At home, they go to bed at 8PM, and as far as they know, the rest of the world also goes to bed at 8pm, except me and Steve. How would they know otherwise?

When we go to NY, people still bustle around, but they are far, far away, down on the street.

At Hampton Beach, the people are right outside your window, propped open because of the heat, and you can hear their conversation.

I overheard Nathan muttering to his brother: It's the crack of dawn and people are still walking around out there.

It was 9PM.

Someone should explain to Nate that 9PM is still a good time for adults to be awake. It's 5AM, when he wakes up, which is the crack of dawn.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Inside Nick's Mind

Nick's Workbook: What person from history would you like to meet? Use the person's title in your answer.

Nick's Answer: I want to meet Mr. Stephen King.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dinner Time

I make dinner every single night.

OK, not every night. There are nights we order pizza, but not too many. And there are nights Steve makes dinner, or sometimes just grills some meat while I throw a side together.

But most nights, I make dinner.

And I stress over what to make. Yes, I want to be healthy and serve my children nutritious meals. But mostly I stress about what to make because I think if I have to make chicken or tacos one more time my head will explode. This is where the blogs to the readers left come in, particularly Greens and Chocolate (by someone I don't know) and What I Haven't Cooked Yet (someone I actually knew in college.)

Anyway, I have been combing through these sites and sometimes I can find something that I not only want to eat, but I can also make. And then I go ahead and make it. Sometimes I remember to buy all the ingredients. Not always. And most of the time the things I make are so yummy! Even Steve has liked almost everything I've made. (The cherry chutney, not so much.) The boys.... the boys usually don't touch it. Unless it's to stick a very small pasta swirl on a lower lip and the splutter uncontrollably and ask for more milk.

The other day I was planning on making an avocado and corn salad. I was prepared. But I realized about twenty minutes before showtime that all of my avocados were rotten. Grey and squishy and way way softer than they should have been.

So I improvised. I threw what I had together, which wasn't much. Sesame bagels. Cheddar cheese. Pasta sauce.

Pizza Bagels.

And even though the bagels were stale and burned in the broiler, the boys wolfed them down and declared this the best dinner ever.

Shoot. It's just so discouraging.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Home Work

A few years ago, gripped with the fear that my child was struggling in school and would forget everything he had ever learned by the time fall came around, I started the boys doing summer workbooks.
 The boys liked doing the workbooks. It was a game. When I told the boys I got them workbooks, they begged to start them right away.

Last year things started to get more difficult. Math started to be about adding, and even about (gulp) subtracting. Nathan ended up with a book asking him to write sentences (It had Lighting McQueen, and I swear it said it was for Kindergarten. These Disney folk must have high standards.) The boys started liking it less.

But I am an evil mother. An Evil Mother with a Tiger Mom streak of doom. I decided that I didn’t really care if my kids enjoyed this work or not. I wouldn’t over do it. I got each of them three workbooks, and one journal. And they are usually required to do two pages in each workbook a day (sometimes only one page in the subtraction book, because I know it is more difficult.)

Andy’s books are, of course, much simpler. These are the books we started off with. He writes the letter N. He circles the pictures that begin with N. He gets his work done in ten minutes and bounces off to play.

Nick and Nate have more challenging work. Their books no longer have games, or little cartoon aliens having pizza parties coaxing them through the exercises. Instead, they have to read. They have to know what a noun is, and they have to know which words in a sentence get capitalized. They have to write whole sentences and actually do sums.

Oh. The. Horror.

Steve says I make them do a lot. And this might be true. But a lot is not the same as Too Much. I am not asking the boys to do anything they cannot do. The boys still have plenty of time to play. So I don’t think this is a bad thing. It can only help them in the long run, when they see this stuff come up at school. And it will come up in school. And if it doesn't at least they've learned it here.

But if you listened to the crying and the moaning and the protests…. You would think I was making them sit there for HOURS reading dull history narratives, or doing calculus. In fact, more time and effort is spent on dramatics than on actually doing the work.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

She Who Will Not Be Named...

And her sister.
And some bears.

I still have that chaise we're sitting on. It is no longer pink.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Catching Up On Technology

Aside from folding laundry, one of the most tedious housekeeping tasks I can think of is grocery shopping. Everything else is irritating, sure. I hate cleaning toilets. But you put in the cleaner, you scrub, you’re done.

With grocery shopping you have to get in your car, drive to the store, walk up and down the aisles with your list (hope you remembered your list! If not you’re in big trouble), and make your selections of the best quality, least expensive, most earth friendly products. And by earth friendly I mean, least packaging, most local, least pesticide, no GMO, and least processed food available. Also, you’d better remember to get the right kind of pickles, not the bread and butter pickles, the dill pickles. But not the zesty dill pickles, also not the ones sliced lengthwise, but sliced into little rounds, and not the ones in the little container, but the big one. (hint, these pickles don’t actually exist. I’ve looked for them.) If you get the wrong kind of pickles, someone will complain, and then tell you you’re making a big deal when you throw a fit because these kinds of pickles don’t exist, or at least aren’t carried in the grocery stores you’ve been in.

Ahem. Excuse me.

What was I saying?

Oh, yes. Grocery shopping is tedious. After the frustration of actually finding the food, you have o stand in line at the grocery store while a teenage boy keeps trying to put orange juice on top of your bread, and you think it’s because he’s angry you have reusable bags. The girl at checkout ignores your coupons until the end, when she realizes she needs the price, but can’t remember it, and asks you if you remember how much the greek yogurt was, and when you don’t she has to search through your cart to find it, and then is all grumpy eve though you placed the two side by side at the very front of the counter when you started to unload.

And then you have to drive home.

Once you get home, it’s still not over because you have to lug everything into the house, and then you have to put things away, but your family, who is hungry by now and wants lunch, is walking around the kitchen going through the bags, opening up items and making sandwiches, asking for yogurt and juice. “Can I have Yogurt?” “Did you get the rainbow goldfish?” “These are the pickles you got?”

I have found that making a menu for the week, and then making a detailed list, will cut down on the things I forget to buy, and also on poor impulse choices, like donuts or cookies. I still forget things (even if they’re on the list) and I still slip up and buy unlisted items (cookies!) but I think I’m far more responsible than I otherwise would be.

The other thing that really really helps is…. Music.

A few months ago I started plugging my headphones into my phone and listening to music as I shopped. It really helps. I am not held prisoner to the music pumped over the speakers, or the “attention shoppers!” announcement. (the guy always pronounces coupons “queupons”, or “Q-pons”. The right way is “coup-pons”, or “koo-pons”. It really annoys me, especially since they are always for ice cream or oreos.) I take the headphones out at the deli and the checkout, because I am actually dealing with people. But it really really helps when I’m browsing through piles of meat or sugary cereals.

I now keep headphones in my car just for this reason.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Beach Brain

When the summer started, I promised myself we’d go to the beach more this year. Not the big beach, the town beach. We can stop off there for an hour and the boys would at least get the chance to try out their swimming skills.

But so far we’ve only made it once.

I can’t tell you why we haven’t had the reason. Something always comes up. We had a week of camp. It rained a whole bunch. I was sick with a cold. Only all of those things happened the same week, so its not much of an excuse.

It must be me. I must be putting other things first. Obviously. My kids would have us there every day.

How is this possible? How can I feel so busy, and yet still get nothing fun inton the schedule? We still haven’t seen Brave!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Moment Of Peace

It’s that moment in the midst of daily chaos when you stop and realize none of it really matters. You can spend a few moments staring at the deer gnawing on your blueberry bush, and then you can read to your kids in their messy room for as long as they want you to, there really isn’t any rush.